James Madison Papers

From James Madison to George Washington Parke Custis, 3 June 1810

To George Washington Parke Custis

Washington June 3d. 1810


I have recd. your favor of the 31. May,1 accompanied by the specimens of wool, & followed by the opportunity of seeing your fine Rambuillet Merino Ram. I am much obliged by these marks of politeness, & particularly by the expressions of personal kindness which you have added to them. I have long thought that in the œconomy of our rural establishments, we ought by reducing the number of Black Cattle, and increasing that of sheep, to vary a proportion, adapted perhaps to the primitive circumstances of our Country, but the reason of which has long ceased. Such a change is much enforced by the additional value lately given to wool, & by the improvements of this article derived from external sources, as well as from the domestic which you have so laudably cherished & recommended to public attention. Having lately recd. a Treatise chiefly on Sheep & wool, by Lord Somerville a distinguished Patron of English improvements in both, I have supposed it might be agreeable to you to have a perusal of his observations.2 Accept Sir assurances of my esteem & friendly respects

James Madison


1PJM-PS, description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (8 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984–). description ends 2:363–64.

2JM probably referred to the third edition of John Southey Somerville’s Facts and Observations Relative to Sheep, Wool, Ploughs, and Oxen: In Which the Importance of Improving the Short-Wooled Breeds of Sheep, by a Mixture of the Merino Blood, is Demonstrated from Actual Practice; Together with Some Remarks on the Advantages Which Have Been Derived to the Author’s Flock, from the Use of Salt, &c. &c. &c. [London, 1809].

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